Monday, 31 March 2014

Monday Morning

Woke up - more snow - even though I missed most of the winter here I think we are getting the normal year's snowfall now --- I had errands to run yesterday and all the colours in the stores had me dreaming of spring - I want yellow, green, blue, bright and vibrant - and this is really strange since I rarely wear bright colours  ---  maybe something is in the air - the bunnies are turning brown - my skin is so dry I even purchased some spray on oil - oh it feels so good - not slippery at all --- I had a shower last night, sprayed myself all over and put on my jammies - sat down to watch TV and did not even slide off the couch (or is it sofa or maybe chesterfield)  so many choices.....

I purchased this pendant from a beach vendor in Puerto Vallarta ......... It says "sun" to me.

I am off to find some bright cheerful beads to make a spring necklace - at least I will have something to wear if the snow ever stops......


Friday, 28 March 2014

Friday in the Mountains

When I am home I always look forward to my Friday hikes in the mountains. Part of today was sunny but I lost the sun when taking photos. I also seem to have lost the mountains - but trust me they were there. And so was the snow. These photos were taken in colour and not adjusted at all. I love how the world looks black and white on an overcast day. I also love how the snow has enveloped the pay phone. Since there is little to no cell reception it is not unusual to spot pay phones out here.


Thursday, 27 March 2014

Mojo Challenge Week 4: Findings

I want to thank Heather Powers of  Humblebeads for hosting this challenge. Heather needed to take a break from the weekly challenge due to other demands on her time and I am grateful for that - I have been working on clasps, trying to get something "different" - and that is a real challenge with so many creative people out there doing wire work. 

I started with these ear wires ---- I have been trying to perfect my spiral (not there yet) and these wires seemed like a good cross between posts and wires........

hand made earwires
Then, onto clasps ........ I want clasps, hooks, whatever ---- that are larger and heavier than some --- after over 40 some attempts I came up with three I like - I will be taking these further. Hope to even put them in a necklace one day.

Thanks for stopping by.......  Enjoy!

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

"Love My Art Jewelry" Asymmetry Bootcamp Blog Hop

This is my first hop with "Love My Art Jewellery"- to check out the details please click here.

I normally make a lot of my work asymmetrical but I have only just started using art beads - My first step was to rummage through my small stash to find some suitable beads ----

The only things not handmade is the chain, the pressed Czech glass beads and the metal spacers. Everything else is handmade. I am sorry but my records were destroyed in my flood and therefore I am not sure of the creator(s) - if you know I would appreciate your feedback.

I enjoyed the challenge therefore I will definitely try this again. Enjoy!

Tuesday Eye Candy

It just seems right - Tuesday is for eye candy. I get to look at old jewellery and obtain inspiration. You get to see where I have been. Hope you see something you like. And I may decide to pursue some of these necklaces further :)

vegetable dyed wood

turquoise trade beads wood

vintage crosses

a white dress perhaps?

crystal & chain

love the colour

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Monday Again

I am home and trying to get my routine back - cold weather is difficult to get used to but not unmanageable - most of the time.

I have been sawing earrings, hammering, adding patina, polishing, ...  They are starting to look like earrings. I am making four or five sizes, from very large to "smaller". Since they are all hand sawn there are really no two pairs the same size or finish. And I guess that is good? I have shown you this photo before but this is likely the largest circle. I am working down from this as well as ovals, tear drops, ameba, ........  Not sure what other shapes I will do but no two pairs will be exactly alike. I love making them. Maybe I will add bead drops to some of them as well? Enamel, Paper, ........

I also received some pieces I had cast. It is my logo, created by my daughter. I am so proud of them - especially since she created the design for me. I am going to incorporate them into charm bracelets and necklaces. For the moment, until I complete a bracelet, I am wearing one of the castings on a silver chain. I am so proud of my beautiful daughter when I look at them.

The earrings have hand made sterling ear wires and a small pearl dangle at the bottom. They have lovely movement. I fell almost "real" when I look at them.

And lastly, I have a random pair of earrings I love. Found them when I was cleaning out a drawer.....

I really need to work on my photos ------ I need help and practice! Enjoy!

Friday, 21 March 2014

We're All Ears Hop: March

Earrings Everyday is hosting their regular challenge hop today inspired by this image .......

Pen and watercolor by Beatrix Potter
from The Tailor of Gloucester from the collection at the Tate Museum

I did not have the pleasure of reading or listening to Beatrix Potter as a child so this drawing does not have any real memories for me. The colours drew me into the watercolour more than the images. The earrings did not come easily to me ---- My personal preference is for very simple earrings - I like my necklaces to do the talking. Therefore, my earrings both picked up the blue colour from the beautiful background tapestry.

needle pulling thread


I can see another very beautiful pair or two using fibre in my mind's eye. Perhaps I will try to translate them later.

Thanks for visiting. Enjoy!

Thursday, 20 March 2014

It's Not Tuesday But I Have Some Eye Candy To Share

I have been busy using some of my stash of vegetable dyed wooden beads. Enjoy!

I Wear My Hearts On My ?????????

In January I wrote a post about not collecting hearts, if you are interested the post is here. Unfortunately, I was not able to get the photo to appear in the post - well I have resolved the issue (or just waited long enough for the hearts to align :)  - 

the following photo is of three single strand pendants ----

this next photo is my heart charm necklace ----------

There is still plenty of room for more hearts if I should find any more.

Thanks for visiting - have a great day!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Thank You Nessie Natters

Well I am back home from an extended stay in Puerto Vallarta. The weather is not too bad and there is minimal snow. The temperature reading says -1C, so all in all acceptable.

I arrived to find a lovely package from Denise of Nessie Natters. I was fortunate to win her draw from the "Grow Your Blog" Blog Hop.

lovely packaging

Thank you so much Denise - I love it!

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Last Week

Wow! it is Monday again. I spent every day last week attending an intensive workshop with the amazing Susan Lenart Kazmer, at Hacienda Mosiaco, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. This class was very intense, but well worth it, because Susan shared techniques and inspiration from her latest pieces of jewellery. Below are some of my pieces from this class. I have only completed one piece, but there many more "in the works" ----


needs a toggle ...

enamel ...

iced enamel ...

and resin on enamel.

I have been a big fan of Susan's work for many years, but this year something different was happening. The pieces were more open, freer perhaps, seeking a new equilibrium. To a large degree, my work seems to mimic her style. But with enough time and practise, I believe it will evolve into my own unique style.

This has been such a great winter - I can hardly wait to get home to my own studio where I can try to put to use everything that I have learned. Each of my 3 amazing classes were led by instructors with very different temperments and styles, but all were very talented and they all openly shared with us their techniques, skills and insights. Many thanks to Richard and Jane Salley, to Robert Dancik and last but not least, to Susan Lenart Kazmer.

What a terrific winter!

I am off for home tomorrow and will be back in touch soon.

Have a great week!

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Jewellery Making Mojo Challenge - Week 3

I want to thank Heather Powers of  Humblebeads for hosting this challenge.
For week three- To quote Heather, our wonderful hostess for this wonderful multi-week challenge;

"It's time to go back to school! Learning something new is a super way to get your jewelry making mojo kicked into high gear. 
Find a project in a book, magazine or online (tutorials and videos are perfect for this challenge) and create a piece of jewelry inspired by the project."


Check out Jewelry Making Mojo Challenge for more details.

Thank you again Heather, this was just the push I needed to revisit kumihimo (a Japanese technique used to weave cords together), a skill that I first learned years ago. I viewed a Youtube video from BeadSmith, for a refresher

and then gave it a try ---

From this....

To this....

I used a rattail cord for my first attempt. It was an old piece, in random variegated colours that I did not particularly like, but I definitely do like the resulting cord. It is nice and heavy, but soft around the neck. It is an upscale replacement for a leather cord and the colour options are almost limitless.

Now I am off to find a video to see how to add some beads ....

I will give some thought to see if this cord might be introduced to my jewellery. I think there are some definite possibilities.

Thanks for visiting ---- I am looking forward to the 4th week of the Mojo Challenge.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Friday Hi!

I have had more productive weeks than this last week. Since my son and daughter-in-law have arrived for a 10 day visit, no matter how much I intend to keep up with my jewellery life, it just seems that other responsibilities sneak up on me. I cherish the time we now have to sit and talk and find out all about their lives, but I haven't yet mastered the art of talking and working on my jewellery at the same time!

I say this because I tend to work best in quiet solitary spaces. I prefer to block out all the distractions that surround me, so that I can then focus on making jewellery. But family visits make this an impossible task, so I have made very little progress recently. But, and this is a big but - I have actually missed blogging. Could it be that blogging is now a new habit that I can't easily give up?

So, during the few spare minutes I do have this morning, while they go to the beach and swim in the big waves, I want to share with you at few things that I did manage to complete this week.


Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Is It Real?

What does a question like 'is it real?,' really mean to you? To me, it means that any item that you are looking at should never be described based on a figment of someone's imagination. In my view it is critically important to keep the description based on reality. But some people describe jewellery using  a term like 'authentic' that may be open to some interpretation, and may depend on your own definition for the word 'authentic'. The question really should be - is it as described? I am always as truthful as possible, with all the jewellery that I describe.

 I 'm not a bead snob. Most beads that I encounter are candidates for my designs as long as they;
  • are in reasonable condition for what they are,
  • are not toxic,
  • are not dangerous in any way and
  • are not just plain ugly! (In my humble opinion)
Price per bead is definitely not a determining factor for me. Some beads just feel right, even if they do seem to be a bit pricey.

I have been known to pair plastic components (really affordable stuff) with diamonds (definitely more expensive stuff) when the result produces a beautiful cohesive whole.

Much like people who are all flash and dash -- those with nothing inside are not the kind of people I like to spend time with. Expensive beads are not always beautiful to me. I really cannot tell you what makes something beautiful or useable to me - all I can say is that I know what I like, when I see it.

I love beads, I love metal work, I love fabrication, I guess I just love making jewellery. It doesn't really matter that I use a simple technique like stringing, or much more demanding multi-step techniques  necessary when I decide to create something "complex" like metal fabrication, to create a pendant. I just love to learn new things. One of my biggest challenges is that I often learn more than I have time to perfect, so I keep trying to go back over my notes from classes, taken in earlier years, and spend more time on practising ways to improve each technique. The quality of what I produce is very important to me. It does not matter how lovely or edgy or whatever the piece may be, if my work is sloppy or looks hurried, then I am NOT satisfied. Every thing I produce must be able to stand up to the test of time. I want to make jewellery that will last until your children's grandchildren wear it. (or even longer) I have heard and like the term 'future heirloom' and that works for me.

That is why I am always ready to mix just about anything with anything else --- as long as it results in the creation of a strong and powerful piece.

I am all over the map sometimes - my mind hops from topic to topic, therefore I find it hard to limit myself to one type of jewellery - that is another focus this year - you only ever get really good if you focus on making a lot of something - So I am trying to do a lot (for me, that's 3 pieces) before I am off on another tangent. Constant change is what keeps my life interesting, but practise does makes perfect. It just means that I must work diligently to achieve some kind of a balance in my jewellery life.

While enjoying lunch on the beach yesterday with my husband and some friends, a beach vendor approached our table and showed me a piece of jewellery that really caught me eye - a tooth or tusk shaped pendant made of bone and silver (similar in shape to that of a small dagger). The beach vendor said it was an armadillo tooth. My friend and I never missed a beat - we were engrossed in looking at his wares - we never stopped, to really consider what he had said at the time, and I ended up buying that piece. As soon as the vendor left me with my tooth, my husband asked what it was that I had  purchased - an armadillo tooth, I said. He then questioned my sanity in believing the vendor's story. If it really was an armadillo's tooth like he said, then that  3 inch tooth must have belonged to the biggest darn armadillo ever found in Mexico - weighing more than me and standing taller than me (because my biggest tooth is a lot less than 3 inches in length). This is my point - if I encounter a product of some kind, beautifully presented - does the accompanying vendor story really matter? I now am the proud owner of a great looking, tooth/tusk shaped item, from some kind animal (most likely not an armadillo), and I also have a great story to share!

my "armadillo" tooth
Thanks for visiting. Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Tuesday - Time for Eye Candy

It is Tuesday again, and I do not have any ironing. I am comfortable that the world will not end, if I wear a wrinkled shirt. Maybe I will iron the front placket of a shirt, but rarely much more. And I do not ever iron sheets. I have a friend who irons her husband's boxers. It will be a frosty Friday before that ever happens at my house. (Well, maybe if the starch is handy.:)

We are sort of settling into a pattern of using Tuesday for eye candy. Just let me know if you get bored with seeing bad photos of older pieces. I still have some of these (pieces I mean), but some must have gone the way of the dodo bird. Not sure where that is, but they are gone, gone, gone...

Let's begin with the completed piece from yesterday.....

Comments indicated that most everyone shared a preference for the yellow ends. So, I have changed the black beads for yellow, lengthened the piece so it could be worn doubled up and then added the clasp. I will let it sit, for a day or two, to make sure it survives the time test. This piece still irks me somehow, but I am not sure why. Perhaps after a good night's sleep, I will know how to improve it in some way.

The following pieces are older pieces, enjoy!

vintage handmade ebony and sterling

I find it very unsettling to look at some of the older photos of my work (and not just because they may be out of focus.).  I often find myself trying to remember the inspiration for a particular piece. In my mind I am rarely completely satisfied with a piece. Occasionally I will nail it and I will still love something I might have made 3 or 4 years ago. I wish I could bottle that.
The wooden and silver beads are especially intriguing in this group. The wooden beads are very old African beads. I wondered as I was making it who made them and why. They are all hand made and as such they are all slightly irregular. They are wonderfully smooth, having been touched and rubbed by many hands over many decades. I am a very tactile person and love to touch things. When I go shopping with my daughter, she often comments that I "have to touch everything". Touching something is as important to me as seeing something, sometimes even more.

Live well! Drop by again.